And the Truth Shall Set You Free

numerozeroeng.jpgUmberto Eco’s latest novel is short but the satire pumps it up to become a formidable read. As with many of Eco’s works, Numero Zero is involved with fictions and conspiracies.

It’s safe to contend that Eco has written a satire of the corruption and failure of the Italian government fronted by that well-known playboy and media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi. In Eco’s fiction, a rich and powerful man known as Il Commendatore commissions a new newspaper which will be less involved with rehashing yesterday’s news and more focused on developing the future effects of that news. To this end a group of ragged journalists is brought together and a series of papers is planned to show that Il Commendatore can get the job done. It is important to understand that this first run (Numero Zero) is a fake mock-up cobbled together from old news with the intension, not of developing new media, but rather to convince the media insiders that Il Commendatore should be admitted to their inner-circle.

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A Note From G

G.G is the hero of the novel G. by John Berger. G is a bit of a picarro wandering through Italy before the Great War and racking up sexual adventures. Along the way the narrator (presumably the aforementioned G) tells stories of the events and characters he meets (or seduces) in his travels around Italy and parts of Europe. The narrator also stops and makes editorial comments on those activities and on the developments going on in Europe.

I find that most historical fiction nowadays is best accepted less as a reflection of the past but moreover as a comment on the present, especially as the present leads into the future. In G. we have several such passages; here is just one:

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